Matt Henry Exodus 6:1-13;7:1-13 24 Feb 2013
Well, we’re on our way in this Lenten series from Exodus. We’re focusing
on Exodus 6 and 7 today and the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “thy
kingdom come.” God is establishing a kingdom and a people in Exodus. That’s
the big picture. Exodus is a story of God revealing Himself and taking to Himself a
nation to call His own. Israel is his firstborn son. And so it’s a really big statement
He makes in 6:7, “I will take you to be my people and I will be your God.” A
relationship is established—and it’s God’s idea and doing. Up to this moment, the
people were people and God was God, but there was no connection between
them besides an old promise. “Thy kingdom come”, then, is a prayer for God to
graciously and powerfully reign over and among his people as King—king of our
lives, king of our hearts, king of our marriages, king of our jobs. When’s the last
time you asked him to reign in these areas? And if you never have, why not? Is it
a control thing? Is this his jurisdiction?
Growing up in Idaho Falls, our airport was the closest major airport to
Yellowstone National Park. And every so often, dignitaries would park their plane
there because it was too big for the smaller airports with shorter runways. One
time, the king of Jordan flew in. The plane was a massive air palace—just huge
and purple. It looked like a Prilosec commercial. Quite literally, the kingdom had
come to Idaho Falls. Impressive? Yes. Something to see? Sure. But was it
personally relevant? Not really. I mean, he’s the King of Jordan. It’s not like he
was the king of me. So even though he was near, there was some distance,
because his kingdom did not extend to me. I’m not one of his people.
When God visits his people in a foreign land of Egypt, He makes them His
people. He brings them out. He establishes a relationship. This whole thing is his
idea. It isn’t that we make Him king. No, He makes us His people. He made us so
Do we want to be ruled in such a way? Do we want him as King? Not
always! But fortunately, He always wants us as His people even when we give
Him reason not to. He is a good king—but most people don’t know that for
certain. And frankly, even those that do know he’s a good king will resist his
authority to some degree because we think we know better. Moses was no
Let’s set the scene in Exodus. After the encounter with Yahweh in the
Burning Bush, Yahweh tells Moses to leave Midian and return to Egypt.
Remember, Moses was a murderer. That’s why he fled in the first place. For forty
years, this fugitive had been hiding out. That’s right, this shepherd had been “on
the lam”! So God gives Moses the “all clear” and it’s time for him to begin his
third career at the age of 80 and appear before Pharaoh and plead for deliverance
of the Hebrews. By the way, one of the things that we don’t know about Exodus
is which Pharaoh is referenced. It makes it hard to date Exodus because there’s
never a name for Pharaoh given. But what is given is a title: the king of Egypt.
In the first half of his life, Moses lived in the household of the king.
Adopted into Pharaoh’s household, but then forced to flee a criminal, I wonder
what it must have been like for him to once again walk into the palace of power.
His first debut doesn’t go so well. Moses doesn’t follow Yahweh’s instructions.
Moses doesn’t say what He’s told to say. Moses doesn’t perform the signs he is
given. He goes with his own strength and it results in failure. And the very first
words we hear from Pharaoh could not be more telling, “Who is Yahweh, that I
should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know Yahweh, and moreover, I
will not let Israel go” (5:3). The talks are a disaster and Pharaoh decides, as
punishment for this request, to no longer give the Hebrew slaves any straw at all
to make bricks. The people are upset. Moses is disillusioned. He’s asking
Yahweh, “Why did you ever send me?” (5:22). It’s just not working! Does it ever
work when we try things our own way or rely on our own strength, not God’s?
Human effort falling flat…that’s where we pick up in chapter six and Yahweh’s
The whole theme of Exodus is for Yahweh to be known. Pharaoh is going to
have to come to terms that there’s a king with a higher authority than his own. It
is an admission that will only come after ten brutal plagues. And even then, the
hardness of this heart remains. Not only does Pharaoh not listen, the people
don’t either. Their problem isn’t a hard heart—their problem is a broken spirit.
Moses talks to them about deliverance and they can’t receive it. At that moment
they probably only cared about finding straw. Verse 9, “Moses spoke thus to the
people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit
and harsh slavery.” They were so broken, they couldn’t hear hope. I wonder if
you’ve ever felt that way or been close to someone who has. We’re focused on
the short-term problem and the long-term solution of God doesn’t comfort as it is
Depression, brokenness, chronic pain can all steer people in this direction
because they break the spirit. As the Proverb says, “A joyful heart is good
medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” A broken spirit goes to the
point that we have a hard time holding on to the hope that is held out to us. If
you’ve ever been so broken, you know that it takes something beyond you,
something external, to bring you back. To be so broken is actually a point of
blessedness if we bring it to Jesus. Out of our futility, God asserts His power to
make a further name for Himself. He still wants to be known—not only as Lord of
Pharaoh had to learn things the hard way with his hard heart—and at
times, so do we. Who’s the real king of Egypt? Yahweh. Even when it doesn’t
look like it, who’s the real king of all the earth? Yahweh. So who’s the real king of
One time, Magi came from a foreign land and inquired in Jerusalem,
“Where is he who is born king of the Jews?” The answer at that time was
Bethlehem. But ultimately, the king of the Jews is a designation that is nailed to
the cross right above his thorn-crowned head. What kind of king reigns in this
way? He’s only doing what He has done before. “I will take you to be my people
and I will be your God” (6:7). Most subjects lay down their lives for their king.
But our King lays down his life for his subjects—and picks it up again. “Thy
kingdom come” is a prayer for faith for Jesus to reign in more people’s hearts. As
children of the king, the challenge of the faith is to hold on to this truth—He is in
control and His reign is for our good, even when it doesn’t feel or look that way.
One day our king is going to come for all to see. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
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